Over the past few years I’ve been pretty silent about the things that I have read and heard from my elders who for some reason have decided to discredit and disrespect the thoughts and opinions of my fellow millennials. However if we (millennials) challenge the opinions of those “older and wiser” than us we’re considered rude, disrespectful, ignorant, self-focused and are told that we’re unrealistic, don’t understand life and have no respect for history – just to name a few of my favorite insults and I will outline later in this post along with my responses.
From my vantage point, (let me remind you that I have a vocation that allows me to work with all generations) I believe we have hit a point in our current landscape where we will not have constructive conversations, which is a shame. Admittedly, I enjoy having conversations with those who believe differently than I do, and I believe that we should have an open mind and respect the opinions of others. When we disagree with another person that is not an indictment on each other’s character. Luckily, I get to have quality conversations with a wide variety of individuals each day who I disagree with that I find the good in and respect. I also know that their ignorant and insensitive social media posts don’t reflect who they are. While I’m saying that, if you decide you need to “correct” me on my thoughts by commenting on this blog I will not engage you – let’s have a face to face conversation; you know, that thing some of you believe my generation isn’t good at.
As a millennial I get to supervise individuals that for the majority are in their late teens to early 20s. I work to provide out-of-school care in the form of Preschool, After School, and Summer Camp to the current iGen generation that was born during the 2000s. Therefore, my vantage point and exposure to various generations is broad, which I’m grateful for. I have learned so much from those younger and older than me, especially as a supervisor, when they have pushed me to think differently or encourage me to be open-minded in areas I’m closed off to. They have allowed me to have better skills to look at the bigger picture, which I believe we all need to do.
A few statements I’ve heard or read that I’d like to specifically respond to:
- “These young people don’t understand hard work.”
- Yes, we do! However, we believe our places of employment should provide fair wage and appropriate benefits. Think about our current cost of living.
- By the way, you raised us.
- “All they care about is texting and the internet.”
- That’s a lie and a vague generalization. We have grown up in a technology-driven culture and were educated with technology.
- Yes, we do know about dictionaries and encyclopedias.
- Yes, we do know how to do things without a computer or the internet.
- “They’re too sensitive and think things should be fair for everyone.”
- Well if you don’t believe in treating people with respect and kindness no matter who they are – check yo self!
- “All they do is protest.”
- Gladly. And protesting is something that has been happening for many generations, so are you upset that we protest about things you don’t believe in? *And I’m not advocating for violent protesting. Also, I’m not saying I agree with every protest.
- “I won’t listen to anything about gun control from kids who eat Tide Pods.”
- Just stop! And shame on you for making that statement because school shootings should NOT be a normalcy and should not happen on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
- “I blame their parents.”
- What bad and/or inappropriate behaviors do you have that we can blame your parents for?
- What bad and/or inappropriate behaviors do your children have that we can blame you for?
- “Oh, honey, you’re too young, you don’t understand.”
- I’m not stupid. Help me understand. Don’t demean and disrespect me in that way. I’ll gladly respect you and listen as long as you give me the same respect.
- “None of the things y’all are fussing about have been an issue. Y’all are making it one by talking about it.”
- Give me a break. So many things have been an issue for years even before us millennials made our presence known on this earth; they were just ignored.
I find myself frustrated with all generations on some level because as I said earlier there is criticism on all sides. However, I feel as though we all have significant things to share with the world that will make it a better place. I would like to remind my elders that they were young at one point and to remember how it felt when no one respected them and their offerings to the world. My belief is that the expectation for older generations is to uplift, encourage, mentor and respect future generations.